Best of

How Wolfgang Puck Catering Pulled Off an Experience for 12,000 Guests in One Night

by Pamela Rothbard, Editor

Every year, Adobe hosts Adobe MAX – The Creativity Conference — and this year was a return to Los Angeles.  MAX is the annual gathering of more than 14,000 graphic, web, and multidisciplinary designers, creative and art directors; film, video, and motion graphic pros; photographers; and creative leaders.  The three-day conference features hundreds of sessions, hands-on workshops, keynotes, art installations and activations that culminates in the MAX Bash – a night that celebrates the conference creative innovation with one blow-out party at Expo Park & The Banc of California Stadium – planned by SO Events and catered by Wolfgang Puck.

The party was divided into three distinct areas – each with its own personality – that brought the themes from the conference alive in a vibrant, over-the-top creative feast for the eyes.  The party was one of discovery: the more you explored, the more was uncovered. And the dessert area was a universe in and of itself. The Bash is one part open air art gallery, one part creative expression, one part dessert dreamland.  Where else can neon meerkats, towering glowing palm trees, gummy bears in all shapes and sizes, disco ball ‘helmets’ and a confetti room all co-exist in creative harmony?

In preparation for the huge event, which involved serving a large number of attendees throughout a relatively short evening, the Wolfgang Puck Catering team set up an idea room months in advance for 21 chefs to work together to construct the menu and experience. The chefs created two huge on-site kitchens for the separate preparation of savory and sweet items and employed more than 600 staff to ensure that the fare and service were top-notch.

Chef Wolfgang Puck himself wandered through the food areas in advance of opening — in the same order as a guest would — testing and tasting the global dishes cooked up by his team for their largest event to date.

Upon entering the grounds of Expo Park, partygoers were met with a Let’s Bash sculpture and Here to Create wall, one of the many ‘selfie’ walls to be found at the event.  And under the glow of the palm trees, guests started their culinary journey at the first of four savory food stations, each of which included a live action component and a four-sided buffet. A giant grill in the center of the first station featured elote corn in a creamy sauce and topped with cheese, as is the traditional Mexican preparation. The station also featured El Salvadorian pupusas, shaved chicken and beef “kefta” (a Moroccan minced meat dish) and more.

Continuing their culinary caravan around the world, guests next enjoyed freshly-made, hand-rolled pasta, toasted farro salad and a fried Brussels sprouts and Indian-spiced roasted butternut squash dish. Chefs mixed up gnocchetti di Sardi “Mac N Cheese” in giant hollowed parmesan wheels for visual appeal and loads of extra flavor. The lucky diners then visited two more stations, the first offering “build-your-own” sandwiches with Chinese Katsu Bao and Vietnamese Banh Mi, and the second buffet featuring a large format Spanish rice dish, paella. A hospitality lead at each station kept dishes full and fresh while thousands of attendees streamed through filling their plates.

Partygoers ended their delicious pilgrimage in an over-the-top Candyland-style dessert area. A neon MAX art sculpture under the iconic arch of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum served as the backdrop for the surreal sweets wonderland that was decorated with bright, happy touches like inflatable donuts and pink flamingos. Science lab beakers filled with liquid gummy bears added drama as they overflowed with smoke. Guests sampled cream puffs, candy-colored macarons, tiramisu parfaits, cheesecake tarts and more. Fun display tables filled with popcorn and glitter served up treats with gummy bear-inspired flavors.

A live artist was on site constructing a giant gummy bear sculpture (out of gummy bears) while partygoers snapped pics with the infamous, towering Vandal gummy bear sculpture. The scene was made even more surreal by an artist-created neon sugar walk featuring magical worlds conjured from colored sugar lit by black light. A winding path led attendees through the sugar installation that was labeled with signs encouraging “eat me.”

And if that wasn’t enough, the doors to the Banc of California stadium opened, and guests were treated to a performance from Grammy award-winning artist, Beck.  Guests streaming out after the last song found refreshed food stations offering one more delectable bite before saying goodbye to an incredible night.

PartySlate is the place where leading event professionals share their work with the world. Find new ideas by viewing and saving hundreds of thousands of beautiful event photos from weddings to birthday parties, corporate events to galas. Easily connect with the best local event professionals and find stunning venues. Sign up now »

Featured event professionals and venues receive additional links within articles. Learn about membership plans »